There are so different songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but many of those songs are just instant chart-topper!? How come? What they have in common? Let’s resume 3 features that make a zero or hero song!
SLOW TEMPO & MINOR KEY = THE PERFECT HIT HIT
Slower tempos and minor keys have been a trend in chart-topping songs for the past year!
Eight of the 12 songs that reached number 1 on the Billboard charts last year – from Drake’s One Dance to Rihanna’s Work – had tempos slower than 104bpm.
Over half of the songs that made it to the Billboard Hot 100 songs in 2015 were written in major keys. However, seven of the 12 songs that made number 1 in 2016 were written in minor keys. Ed Sheeran’s hit ‘Shape of You’, written in C# minor, follows in the footsteps of the many recent minor-key chart-toppers, including Adele’s ‘Hello’, which took home Song of the Year at the Grammys.
Some of those top songs make you wanna dance, right? – and we know that it does – it’s because of that beat. And that beat probably sounds familiar. It comes from dancehall, a genre of Jamaican pop music from the 1970s, but it’s been having a heyday on the international stage thanks to modern pop producers. Sia’s ‘Cheap Thrills’, Drake’s ‘One Dance’, Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’ and’, Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You’ all follow the drum pattern characteristic of dancehall.
HOW MAY TIME HAVE YOU HEARD THIS – LESS IS MORE
Minimalism is in. Just take a listen to some of those hit songs and hear how light the instrumentation is.
Next time try to produce something a song where large sections of the song have only two or three instrument parts playing at the same time. Try a no kick until the first chorus, and an even later bass section! Vocals must be king in a song like this.
Changes in dynamics and energetic percussive elements – claps, hats, guitars throughout the song, well-timed to keep the listener interested for the nearly three to four minutes.
Below, find some of these examples and feel inspired!